Hello from Berlin

I wake up in my airbnb room and I’m desperate to pee. I’ve already snoozed my alarm twice. The whole point of not going out last night was to wake up fresh AF today and I already screwed it. Then the beautiful fact hits me once more. I’m travelling alone. I have absolutely no fucking commitments. I can eat cake for breakfast. Empowered by all of the above, I saunter out of my bedroom only to hear the unmistakable, rhythmic creaking and accompanied grunting of good sex. My host and his… Boyfriend? Tinder date? Friend with rough sex thrown in fortnightly? Momentarily i panic. I should not be here right now. I run back into my room. 

Gowri. What the fuck are you doing? You still need to pee. Use the goddamn bathroom like a normal person. It’s just sex. And if it’s anal, the cum doesn’t just seep out involuntarily either; because God bless sphincters (hey, anal isn’t just reserved for gay people). I roll in. Heave a sigh of sheer relief as that good pee escapes my overstretched bladder. Strip off and take a shower. As the warm water gushes over my content, naked body which today, I choose not to criticise for a lump here or roll there… I notice I’m just happy. For absolutely no reason. So I get dressed, play some Khalid, try not to eavesdrop on Sam (pseudonym) and his i-think-boyfriend-because-they-are-now-having-a-classic-post-sex -conversation-whilst-showering (Rath and I do this all the time. Sorry mum if you’re reading). I walk out and Sam is fully in his boxers. He covers his crotch, grinning at me and says ‘oops! I’ll go back to the bathroom!’ 

‘I’m coming back later to get my phone Sam…’

‘”We’ll be dressed! ” he giggles. I laugh. “Sam,you can walk around naked for all I care. It’s your apartment” . Also low-key hoping to catch a glimpse of bae because if it’s who I think it is, judging by Sam’s photos… He’s hot.

I walk to the coffee shop next door to the apartment, grateful for its legitimate coolness and the fact that two Berliners have now told me it’s got one of the best ‘blends’. I sit down outside as my phone charges upstairs and sip my oat milk latte. I order cake for breakfast.

I think about Berlin. The city. The art. The way the beat of techno seeps into your thigh muscles and moves through you almost involuntarily. I think of Sobr, the street artist and the dancing people he illegally pastes across thousands of walls in the city as even the mortar behind it screams liberation. I think of how nobody can take away our human right to dance. I think of the way Germany’s cold beer swims across my taste buds and falls down my throat like golden goodness. I think of the Australian girl I met on a bar crawl the other night who exuded warmth and remember how capable my own intuition is at connecting with the right kind of energy. She said she thought it was so brave that I approached a group of people I didn’t know and asked to hang out with them. I thought of how much I’ve grown as a person and how comfortable I’ve become in my own skin since the last time I travelled alone. I think of the East Side Gallery and how I low-key hated myself for getting a young dad to snap my photo next to the kissing presidents because I didn’t really need that photo to prove I came here. I think of the musicians whose souls escape through the vibrations of their guitar strings only to find the souls of others in the city. I think of the way the Berlin’s heart beats in such a palpable way each time I step off another U-bahn and onto another street, its blood transfusing itself through my arteries, pushing my own heart to pump to the city’s rhythm. I think of how my lovely host, Sam is also a doctor whose SSRIs I saw on the kitchen table and thought ‘hey, what a kindred goddamn spirit’. I think of when he said ‘the first time I went to a fetish club, my mind was blown when I saw a girl being fisted in the basement. But then I remember that assisting a C-section is actually so much worse’. I laugh at my ridiculous framework of socially constructed perspectives that dissolve into Berlin’s infrastructure each time my lungs consume this city’s air. I don’t want to go back to who I was before all this. I think of the young Irish girl who I met on a walking tour yesterday who was so gutted she wasn’t in a party hostel. I remember seeing a version of myself in her whom I’ve since shedded to reveal this young woman who loves so much more than to mindlessly drink.

I’ve ordered another latte and almost finished my vegan cake. God, I really really should go vegan. Berlin, stop pushing me like this (don’t stop). A gorgeous dog canters from underneath the bench to the patch of pavement in front of me. The owner (also gorgeous) is sitting next to me. He wears black Capri pants with long socks, a loose, cream coloured T-shirt with a long silver necklace. He has sweeping caramel coloured hair, brown stubble and warm eyes. He lets me make a fool of myself over his beautiful dog, Danny, whom he picked up as a stray in Ibiza. This story alone prises my heart open. She knows good when she sees it. Before long, Roland, his friend Ben and I are neck deep in the abyss of conversational nirvana.

Roland is a DJ, a yogi, an artist and a soul immersed in a human experience. We speak about how ‘likes’ are a currency by which the generation before us define their self worth. We talk of how social media creates another Maya within the Maya. We speak of humanity’s collective consciousness and its destruction through ego, separation, war and oppression and how the conversation we are having now is an attempt to heal a minute aspect of that from which we suffer. My heart breaks and his eyes swell. His tears paste my scattered thoughts back together and I realise for the first time in a long time… perhaps what I have to say is of value. I’ve been in a state of osmosis lately. Consuming consciously but giving very little back. I see it’s time to change that.

Roland. Here is the list of books I promised you.

A New Earth & Oprah + Eckharte’s podcast series on it- Eckharte Tolle

Rise Sister Rise- for a deeper understanding of the divine feminine, though a touch repetitive- by Rebecca Campbell

The Four Agreements- practical Toltec wisdom about escaping Maya, by Don Miguel Ruiz

My Gita- Devdutt Panikatt- helped me personally dive deeper into the religion I was raised in by providing me with tidbits of conceptual information about the Bhagavat Gita. Confession: I’ve not finished it yet.

The Power of Now- read it. Re read it. Listen to it. Remember that the present moment is the only thing that exists and all beings experience this at the exact same time which means we are experiencing the same thing which makes us eternally connected to one another.

Why We Sleep- Matthew Walker. Remember how we spoke about cyclical living and how 9-5 is such a construct by which we are incarcerated? This will prove it more.

The Art Of Happiness- a series of conversations where a western psychiatrist speaks with the Dalai Lama. Slow to read. Good for bedtime.

I am currently reading Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a long and happy life, as a recommended by a friend. I haven’t yet got very far, but I hear good things.

It was a pleasure to meet you. I feel such love in my heart for you and I genuinely hope you continue to spread your quietly confident and beautiful energy across the world with your music, your art and most importantly, your soul.

As for you, Berlin. Well… two more oat milk lattes later, I still haven’t left this coffee shop and I had a great itinerary planned. I’ve never been so grateful for my plan being so thrown off course. I’m going to roam your museums and galleries now and finish off with a solo trip to a club tonight. Hey, maybe Sobr will get a shot of me and I’ll be up on one of your walls one day. Give me even more to write about.

With love & Prost!

Gowri x

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